Amateur Draft Profile: Mike Kvasnicka, C, Minnesota

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Summary

The 6-foot-2 outfielder-turned-catcher is intriguing just for that reason. After spending time in the Golden Gophers' outfield, he moved behind the plate this season. The results have been mixed so far. His defensive abilities are still raw, but he has the arm strength to stick there if he can get his footwork to be passable.

His bat is good but not great. He's a college bat; he's polished with a good approach but has a line drive swing without much power. In order for him to have any value, Kvasnicka has to stick behind the dish. If he does, he has the potential to be an offensive version of Jason Castro. If he doesn't he turns into a light-hitting corner outfielder who may be too big to play in right.

Floor

As I mentioned, his floor depends most on whether he can stick at catcher. If his defense improves enough in pro ball that he can play the position, Kvasnicka could be a backup at the big league level. Otherwise, he's going to be a left fielder without much power, without great wheels and who's plate discipline is just average. Those kinds of guys don't usually make the major leagues for long.

Ceiling

With a little bit of power, Kvasnicka is exactly the kind of player the Astros think Jason Castro can be. He'll have an All-Star caliber bat at catcher but won't be a gold-glover behind the dish. Teams like his bat and he could hit for a pretty high average. If he were playing at any other position, he wouldn't be considered an All-Star, but at catcher, 15-20 home runs plus a .300 average will go far.

Will the Astros pick him?  If so, where?

You may have picked up that I've compared Kvasnicka to Castro a lot. Obviously, Castro's defense is much better at this point, but I should also point out that both converted to catcher during their college careers. Castro appears to be the more athletic of the two, but Kvasnicka may have the better bat. Why does all this matter? Because it doesn't look like the Astros need a player like the University of Minnesota junior. He's been linked to them by some rumors this week, but that may just be disinformation.

Where is he projected to go right now?

Keith Law does not have him in the first round.

Andy Seiler does not have him in the first round.

Deep Leagues does not have him in the first round.

Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 31 to the Rays.

Frankie Piliere has him at No .19 to the Astros.

Perfect Game USA does not have him in the first round.

Baseball America does not have him in the first round.

Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)

Below the jump.

Video

MLB.com

Keith Law's take:

Kvasnicka whips the bat through the zone, and while there's some lift to the swing he doesn't utilize his lower half and is probably going to hit for doubles power at best, especially from the left side.

He's disciplined with good plate coverage and has the bat speed to let the ball travel and still make contact. He has arm strength but still needs work on getting from the crouch to release, as he's relatively inexperienced behind the dish and isn't even the full-time catcher for the Gophers.

His value comes down to whether a team thinks he can catch; if he can, he should go in the top two rounds, but if not, his bat probably won't play in an outfield corner due to his lack of power projection.

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